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Veterans PTSD Bill Gains Traction in Colorado

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Flickr @ Steven Tom

Colorado’s long tradition of taking care of their medical marijuana patients is not far reaching enough, according to veterans. It’s the only state to deny a request to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions approved for medical cannabis.

More than fifty veterans die every day from suicide and prescription drug overdoses.

It’s been the mission of organizations like Grow for Vets, and the Cannabis Patients Alliance to end this epidemic, and they are making some great strides for veterans rights with Senate Bill 17-17.

Grow for Vets

Founded in Colorado, Grow for Vets has been around since 2014 to provide veterans with cannabis medicine free of charge.

To date, they have supplied 30,371 veterans with over a million dollars’ worth of cannabis.

Their mission is lofty: They aim to allow every American veteran the opportunity to try cannabis, as it’s been cited by so many already for its healing effects, and as an ‘exit drug’ for prescription opioid abusers.

Veterans Affairs physicians are still not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans. Meanwhile, our neighbors to the North offer subsidized cannabis medicine for all Canadian veterans.

“This prohibition is directly tied to the unwillingness of the U.S. Government to accept reality,” reads the Grow for Vets site. “It is our position that this attitude reflects a callous disregard for the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the brave men and women who have made incredible sacrifices to protect the freedom we love.”

Grow for Vets have chapters across the country, and the Colorado chapter participated in this week’s push-up for vets campaign in support of SB017-17, the bill recently introduced to the Colorado State legislature to add mental illnesses to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

A game changer

It’s not the first time a bill like this has made its way to the steps of lawmakers, but in their latest efforts, Senate Bill SB017-17 would add PTSD and acute stress disorders to the list of debilitating medical conditions approved for using medical cannabis in Colorado.

The legislation comes from the Interim Committee on Cost-benefit Analysis of Legalized Marijuana in the state.

According to state advocates and attorneys at the Hoban Law Group, existing treatments for PTSD, like pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy have limitations and don’t necessarily result in effective treatment.

The Board of Medical Examiners, under the state Department of Public Health & Environment, hasn’t added any medical conditions since medical marijuana from caregivers became legal in the state back in the early 2000’s.

Call to action

The Cannabis Patients Alliance organized this week’s push-ups for vets ahead of Monday’s Senate Committee hearing on the bill.

Cannabis Patients Alliance is an alliance of patients, families, organizations, businesses, advocates, activists, and other supporters who work together to protect and advance the rights of patients who choose to use medical cannabis to treat their condition.

If you missed Monday’s push-ups on the steps, there will be another opportunity to show your support for those suffering with PTSD on Valentine’s Day.

February 14th is the third annual Cannabis Patients Alliance Day at the Capitol. They are in need of some volunteers and sponsors for the big day.

It’s a day where constituents are encouraged to come to the Capitol to meet their legislator, connect with other patients, and explore the Capitol. More information about the event can be found at CannabisPatientsAlliance.org.

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